AAN Board Meets in Detroit, Discusses Broad Swath of Topics

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia board of directors met in Detroit on Saturday, December 3, 2011. It was the first meeting of the current board that was elected at AAN’s annual meeting in July.

The meeting took place at the Westin Book Cadillac, site of the upcoming AAN annual convention, and covered a broad agenda.

The directors’ first order of business focused on organization finances. Ellen Meany, treasurer, reviewed AAN Financial statements from FY2011, which ended September 30th. In addition, the board approved a stub budget for October – December 2011 and a full budget for FY2012. In July, the membership approved a change in AAN’s fiscal year to match the calendar year, thus the two separate budgets.

Next, the board heard a report from President Fran Zankowski. Zankowski’s main initiatives for 2012 are:

  • Reviving the committees and encouraging each chair to maximize participation and ideas;

  • Putting together an ad bank to showcase examples of ads running in AAN member papers across the U.S. and Canada;

  • Finding professional services organizations which can provide member papers with alternatives to expensive heath insurance and other HR services;

  • Expanding member services to include additional leadership and sales training.
  • Zankowski said, “With our finances in good shape I look forward to AAN growing member services and involving more members in active participation of the association.”

    A headquarters report from executive director Tiffany Shackelford followed. Shackelford reviewed the recent publishers and writers/designers workshops, and discussed plans for the upcoming Web Conference, scheduled for January 26 – 28, 2012 in San Francisco, and sales staff training workshops to be held in multiple locations in the spring of 2012. In addition, Shackelford talked about the organization’s new fundraising and public relations efforts.

    AAN’s director of meetings, Debra Silvestrin and convention chair, Chris Sexson, gave an overview of plans for the annual convention, which will take place June 7 – 9. Excellent low prices will again be offered to member papers, as well as top-notch programming and terrific parties. Sexson highlighted Detroit’s growing creative class, local handcrafted beers and fabulous music scene as added draw.

    The meeting included detailed reports from committee chairs. AAN’s committee chairs include: membership (Margaret Downing), editorial (Anne Schindler), free speech (Bradley Zeve), diversity (Jimmy Boegle), advertising (Blair Barna), marketing (Jeff Lawrence), design & production (Matt Walsh) and electronic publishing (Molly Willmott). Zankowski has also tasked at-large board members (Amy Austin, Christine Oreskovich, Michael Hollett and Chuck Strouse) with specific assignments such as international outreach, new member growth, conference introduction & orientation, and grant-writing assistance.

    The board will next meet 1 pm, Thursday, January 26th in San Francisco.